(Jamie) Thanks for staying with us! Now Duane and Paul discuss production loss issues in the pork industry.
(Duane) Duane Toews, joining you here on AGam in Kansas. Another in the series on swine. Have a chance to catch up with Dr. Paul Sundberg with the Swine Health Information Center, while in Kansas City at Trade Talk. And Dr. Sundberg, obviously we think about an industry that relies a great deal on reactionary principles to disease outbreaks. The swine industry seems to be maybe one of the most involved in that kind of an aspect. (Paul) Well what we want to do with the Swine Health Information Center and with funding from the Pork Board, we’re a separate corporation, but the center is about more than reacting. It’s about being prepared. So, we’re doing three things in the Swine Health Information Center. One is we’re looking over the hill globally and also domestically for emerging diseases to better predict what diseases are most likely to come into the country. The second thing then is funding research to be prepared with diagnostics and other. And the third thing is for producer to producer management and sharing of information, analyses of data, so they can better manage disease and that’s part of a reaction if it gets here. (Duane) We’ve had a couple as of late, PED just a year or so ago. PRRS came into the swine population prior to that, and we still battle with. But give us an example of what your organization does and how it works with producers and veterinarians. (Paul) One of the examples that we have going on right now is Seneca Valley Virus. And that virus has been in the U.S., identified in the U.S. since 1998. And historically we’ve had three to maybe five infections every year since 1998. This year the virus has changed and so far, the diagnostic labs were reporting better than 70 infections of that virus across the country just this summer. So, there’s a big increase in the number of infections. The concern about this is that that virus looks exactly like Foot and Mouth Disease. It causes sores and lameness between the toes and it causes blisters on the nose of pigs. And the real concern is in the packing plants, so we don’t have an over reaction to Seneca Valley in a packing plant, and closing down a packing plant when they think it’s FMD, as well as out on the farms for all producers and all veterinarians, to assume that they have FMD. And the first thing if you see these types of lesions is to call your veterinarian, call the state animal health officials, or the state veterinarian or a federal animal health official and have it investigated. (Duane) Obviously you refer to Foot and Mouth Disease, FMD, we’ve not had it in this country in quite some time. And it’s pretty important that we keep it that way. (Paul) It’s absolutely important. The latest estimate of economic damage should that get into the country is $188 billion, and that’s with a “B” billion dollars of damage. It would shut down our trade. It would shut down a lot of things. And we can’t let that get into the country again. So, we’ve got to be vigilant about this and not just assume that we’ve got Seneca Valley. (Duane) One thing to note while we talk about a number of these issues, they are on a production issue loss issue, not a food safety concern, so not to alarm people. (Paul) No absolutely. That’s correct. This is a production thing as well, Foot and Mouth Disease. But this virus can cause some sudden death and diarrhea in pigs, especially one to seven days old. It can cause these lesions and lameness in finishing pigs which means that a producer would have to hold those in the barn until they’re healed up before they go to market. And that’s a production loss as well. But this virus doesn’t cause any food safety issues at all. (Duane) Our thanks to Dr. Paul Sundberg with Swine Health Information Center joining us on AGam in Kansas. Jamie, back to you.s
(Jamie) Don’t go away – after the break Duane introduces us to Chris Hodges, CEO of the National Pork Board.